What are my information Needs?


Jan 01 2020 Print

Your information need is what you need to know in order to make your strategic, programmatic and operational decisions.

Information Needs are NOT the actual questions that enumerators will ask the Key Informants.

Examples of Information Needs are: Does the country need humanitarian assistance, or can country resources suffice? Where in the country are most people in need for my response? What groups are most in need? What obstacles are they facing in meeting their basic needs? What type of response do they need? What modality of response is most appropriate? What positive coping mechanisms would we support and what would we hinder if we aided in a certain modality? How do we reach those groups with our assistance? Is the situation improving?

Those who have to make response-related decisions usually know what information they need. However, it is important that the information needs and planned use of the information are clearly articulated by those decision-makers and shared with both those who will help develop data-collection tools and those who will analyse the resulting data. 

Partners will answer the following questions to identify their information needs:

  • What is it that we have to decide?
  • What information do we miss in order to make that decision?
  • How often should that information be updated, at a minimum, to be still usable?
  • Is that information already available/ accessible?
  • How will this information help in the decision-making (What are logical flow & benchmarks)?
  • What are the components of the information (e.g., data that can be analysed to obtain the needed information)?
  • Are any of these data already available/accessible? (Conduct a Secondary Data Review before asking DTM or others to engage in an expensive and maybe dangerous data collection exercise.)

Partners’ IM colleagues can help decision-makers articulate their information needs, if needed.

Information needs for a cluster are commonly drawn up in an “analytical framework” a chart outlining the information needs required for decision-making. 

Contributing questions without a clear link to the information need has proven to result in tons of unused data, and often the necessary information was not captured. This wastes resources and time.  Identifying detailed information needs before developing questions is essential: Questions can thus be more targeted and obtain the right data for your use.

Partners can find a list of information obtainable through DTM MSLA Data commonly used by partners to make their decisions at Strategic, Programmatic and Operational levels in: Types of DTM Information Commonly 

Partners and DTM colleagues can use the Mapping Decisions and  Information NeedsTool to identify information needs and appropriate methods and sources to gather each information (including which DTM components can be used)

Data collection tools (Questionnaires and Data Analysis Plan) will then be developed on the basis of the identified information needs. Developing a mock-up of the results and sharing it with partners will enable the decision-makers to verify that the information collected will provide them with the needed information.

Available Tools